Recycle for Scotland

What to do with wrapping paper

22 APR 20 | 1 minute read

There's nothing better than receiving a beautifully wrapped present, that warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that the giver has gone the extra mile. You almost feel guilty ripping open the paper to get to the present inside. 

Household recycling collection

Recycling facilities exist

When it comes to wrapping paper if you can scrunch it and it stays scrunched then you can recycle it as long as it doesn't have any glitter or foil decoration.

It's a fiddly process but remove any sticky tape, tags or ribbons as they are not recyclable. When you're wrapping your presents try and use as little Sellotape as you can.

Don’t forget that wrapping paper tubes are made of card and can be recycled too! 

Household waste recycling centre (HWRC)

not currently recycled

Yes please, recycle alongside paper and card.

What can't be recycled?

  • Foil wrapping paper tends to be made from polypropylene a type of plastic which can't be recycled alongside paper
  • Glittery wrapping paper cannot be recycled as most glitter is made from microplastics
  • Some wrapping paper is very thin and contains few good quality fibres for recycling
  • A lot of wrapping paper has too much sticky tape attached to it which makes it very difficult to recycle

But what about tissue paper?

Wrapping tissue paper is very thin and often contains few good quality fibres for recycling. Before you toss it, try to reuse it before it needs to be recycled for kids crafts or packing breakable goods.

Are gift bags recyclable?

Gift bags can be used over and over again but they will start to wear out and become unusable. But can you recycle them? It all depends on what the bag is made from. If the bag is made from paper or thin cardboard then it is usually safe to recycle. 

What can you do?

  1. Try to buy wrapping paper made from recycled materials

  2. Remove sticky tape and decorations like bows or ribbons, as these can’t be recycled

  3. Use plain brown paper and fix with ribbon or string (ribbon and string are non-recyclable but great for reusing again and again!)

  4. Reuse cardboard boxes and tubes to help disguise your gifts - added bonus of making them easier to wrap

  5. Opt for gift bags that can be reused over and over again

  6. Try to find plantable seed paper - once you’ve unwrapped your present, you can plant in the garden

Recycling is constantly evolving and changing so check back for updates or try our recycling locator to find out what you can recycle at home and where you can recycle or pass on unwanted items in your local area.